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Posted: Jun 11, 2015
EU project applies nanotechnology to food packaging
(Nanowerk News) The SVARNISH project develops a varnish with antimicrobial, oxygen and water vapour barrier properties and improved physic-mechanical properties to be used in the food industry.
Eight entities from several EU countries have come together to constitute the project consortium which consists of research centers and companies that have significant expertise in project related areas. The project started in October 2013 and will end in August 2015.
Recent developments in technology and raising awareness of environmental issues have led researchers to seek innovative solutions for the food packaging industry. The industry needs to adapt to developments and get ahead of the state-of-art to meet customer needs and environmental issues.
The main factors determining the quality of food packaging products are oxygen-moisture barriers and mechanical resistance.
The traditional food packaging sector uses multilayer structures to provide different properties and functionalities to the packaging. These multilayer structures are expensive and difficult to recycle.
New applications using nanotechnology in food packaging started to emerge lately and provide some improved film characteristics, but even with these approaches multilayer structures are still in use.
The purpose of the Svarnish project is to overcome packaging limitations by simplifying multilayer structures and developing environmentally friendly, low-cost and recyclable packaging solutions by making use of advances in nanotechnology.
The aim of the project is to reduce the price of the food packaging around 20% and reduce waste material by 8-10%, decreasing the time process manufacturing by 50% and reducing the energy consumption by the same 50% as well as reduce food waste by 50% and 85% of the films used for food packaging will therefore become recyclable.
The food industry spends approximately $84 billion a year on food packaging and processing. On the total food cost, approximately 8% of the price to the consumer is spent on food packaging and processing.
Therefore, it is clearly beneficial to both the consumer and the industry to use food packaging strategies that are both functional and cost effective.
The entities that take part in the consortium of the project are the Technological Centers AIDO (Spain), MATRI (United Kingdom), NOFIMA (Norway), and the companies ARTIBAL (Spain), A.HATZOPOULOS S.A. (Greece), SNANO (Turkey), AROMA PRAHA (Czech Republic), and FERRERO SPA (Italy), as end user.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program under grant agreement no.”606446”